Your road riding
Jonathan Pearson, Off-road Editor
When I was growing up, riding most weekends at trials and progressing from club to centre then national and eventually international level, I couldn’t have cared less about other types of bikes. Trials was it. Then I was asked if I could go on a road test for Bike’s sister title RIDE. The thing is, I’d never ridden a road bike. But when asked, ‘can you do us a few wheelies?’ I just did. ‘Could you do a stoppie on that dark patch in the middle of the road?’ Yes. It wasn’t arrogance or the carelessness of youth, but a complete trust in my skill to judge speed, balance and feel for grip. If ever there was a perfect example of how a local club trial can help you as a road rider, the Wycombe trial I rode with John was it. Intelligent use of the brakes? You need it when a section drops down a slimy bank to a 90 degree left. Throttle control? Sometimes you have to ask so, so nicely for grip it is like walking on ice or holding your first child. Feel is everything when you want to ride a bike through a trials sections, feel to stop that back wheel spinning when you twist the throttle, feel for the front brake to slow you down when gravity is conspiring to speed you up, feel for where your weight should be to make it slither along a greasy camber. Want to be able to walk before you can run? Take up trials.